Home Book Award National Book Award 2021 longlists: NPR

National Book Award 2021 longlists: NPR


A stack of books on a black background.

The long lists for the National Book Awards are here – 40 titles, representing a wide range of new voices, past nominees, debuts and veterans of the book world.

You can click on the links below to access the individual listings, and we’ve included links to some great reviews and interviews with the nominated authors.

The finalists will be announced on October 5th and we will discover the winners on November 17th. during a live ceremony in a New York City venue – a comeback after last year’s pandemic-induced virtual broadcast. But there will be virtual elements, and for those who cannot make it to New York, the event will still be broadcast live.

non-fictional works
Translated literature
Youth literature


  • Anthony Doerr, Cuckoo Earth Cloud
  • Lauren Groff, Matrix
  • Jacob Guanzon, Abundance
  • Laird Hunt, Zorrie
  • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, WEB Du Bois love songs
  • Robert Jones, Jr., The prophets
  • Katie Kitamura, Privacy
  • Elizabeth McCracken, The Remembrance Museum: Stories
  • Jason Mott, Hell of a book
  • Richard Powers, Perplexity

non-fictional works

  • Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: Black Performance Praise Notes
  • Lucas Bessire, Running out: in search of water on the high plains
  • Thanks Mr. Cho, It tastes like war: a memory
  • Scott Ellsworth, The inauguration: an American city and its quest for justice
  • Nicole Eustache, Covered by Night: A Tale of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America
  • Heather McGhee, Our sum: what racism costs everyone and how we can thrive together
  • Louis Menand, The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War
  • Tiya Miles, All She Wore: Ashley’s Sack Journey, A Memory of the Black Family
  • Clint Smith, How the word got around: taking stock of the history of slavery across America
  • Deborah Willis, The Black Soldier of the Civil War: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship


  • Threa Almontaser, Yemen’s wild fox
  • Baba Badji, Ghost letters
  • Desiree C. Bailey, What a noise against the cane
  • CM Burroughs, Master Suffering
  • Andrés Cerpa, The vault
  • Martin Espada, Floats
  • Forrest Gander, Twice alive
  • Douglas Kearney, Sho
  • Hoa Nguyen, A thousand times you lose your treasure
  • Jackie Wang, The sunflower cast a spell to save us from the void

Translated literature

  • Maryse Condé, While waiting for the waters to rise, translated from French by Richard Philcox
  • Elisa Shua Dusapin, Winter in Sokcho, translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
  • Ge Fei, Peach blossom paradise, translated from Chinese by Canaan Walrus
  • Nona Fernandez, The twilight zone, translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
  • Bo-Young Kim, On the origin of species and other stories, translated from Korean by Youngmin Lee Comfort and Sora Kim Russell
  • Benjamin Labatut, When we stop understanding the world, translated from Spanish by Adrien Nathan West
  • Elvire Navarro, Rabbit Island: stories, translated from Spanish by Christina macsweeney
  • Judith Schalansky, An inventory of losses, translated from German by Jackie smith
  • Maria stepanova, In memory of memory, translated from Russian by Sacha Dugale
  • Samar Yazbek, Clay planet, translated from Arabic by Price Léri

Youth literature

  • Safia Elhillo, Home is not a country
  • Shing Yin Khor, The Legend of Aunt Po
  • Darcie Little Badger, A snake falls to earth
  • Malinda Lo, Last night at the Telegraph Club
  • Kyle Lukoff, Too bright to see
  • Kekla Magoon, Revolution in our time: the Black Panther Party’s promise to the people
  • Amber McBride, Me (Butterfly)
  • Anna-Marie McLemore, The season of mirrors
  • Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrations of Floyd cooper, Unnamable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
  • Paula yoo, From whisper to rallying cry: the murder of Vincent Chin and the trial that galvanized the African-American movement


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